Monday, July 21, 2014

Book review: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson

In 1893, Chicago was host to the World's Fair, where things like Shredded Wheat and the Ferris Wheel were introduced. Daniel Burnham was the visionary behind this huge, obstacle-ridden undertaking. And at the same time, a few blocks from the fair, another man, Dr. H.H. Holmes, has a vision of his own, one of torture and murder, and becomes the first documented serial killer in America.

This was a fascinating read! Although it in non-fiction, it reads like a novel. I did find that Googling images of the buildings and attractions as they were mentioned was very helpful, as there aren't many photos in the book. And as much as I enjoyed knowing how the fair itself came to be, the parts that focused on Holmes, as sick and creepy as he was, were what I looked forward to reading the most.

I give this book an A.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: The House at Riverton

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
In England in the 1910's, 14 year old Grace goes to work at Riverton, the large country estate belonging to the Hartford family. As she gets older, she becomes the ladies maid, and confidant, to Lord Hartford's daughter. Now, at age 98, Grace must recall secrets she's kept for the family all these years, including events surrounding the night in 1924, when a famous poet committed suicide at Riverton.

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, this is the book for you. Although some aspects were slightly predictable, I really enjoyed the story, and the relationships between the English upper-class and the people who work for them.

I give this book a B.

If you liked this book, I definitely recommend The Forgotten Garden, also by Kate Morton.